Project Next and other OSP projects

In the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP), we are motivated by an ethic of relentless, iterative improvement. The Project Next initiative, launched in fiscal 2011, is designed to advance our work in three key areas—proposals, awards, and compliance. In each of these functional areas, we have been asking fundamental quality questions:

  • What tools and technologies can we develop to automate and improve our processes?
  • How can we better communicate the Institute’s policies and processes around research administration at MIT?
  • How can we keep PIs and DLC administrators better informed of the status of their contract negotiations and other transactions?
  • How can we expand and improve our training options for OSP staff and for MIT research administrators?
  • How can we develop and retain skilled and experienced staff in OSP?

Through the collective efforts of OSP staff and other offices across the Institute, Project Next will help make the administration of sponsored funds as easy as possible.

OSP staff have collaborated with offices across the Institute, including the Research Administration Coordinating Committee (RACC), the Office of the Vice President for Finance (VPF), and Information Services & Technology (IS&T), to develop and implement a comprehensive list of projects and process improvements.

Through current and future projects, we are:

  • modernizing our processes
  • measuring and improving customer service
  • providing better training for MIT staff in research administration for both OSP staff and administrators in DLCs
  • taking advantage of regulatory changes and other MIT initiatives to effect broader research administration process changes

Leveraging Technology

Through Project Next and other projects, OSP has been striving to set the standard in the use of technology to improve communications and optimize efficiency in research administration. During its first two years, Project Next launched three new websites and made significant improvements to a fourth. Since then, we have added electronic document storage capabilities to Coeus and, working with MIT’s Operations Research Center, developed a proposal routing add-on to better distribute workload amongst our Contract Administrators. We are also working closely with IS&T to develop a series of reporting dashboards in Cognos to provide both administrators and senior leadership with data necessary to improve planning and administration.

OSP team members leading these initiatives now

Michelle D. Christy
Stephen D. Dowdy
Rebecca Mathews
Craig Newfield
Suzanne Pettit
Shawna Vogel
Carol J. Wood

Related links

  • Use the OSP website for the administration of sponsored funds.
  • Visit the KualiCoeus website for proposal development and pre- and post-award management.
  • Customize proposal certification questions on the COI website.
  • Find simple, automated non-disclosure agreements on the NDA website.
  • Cognos proposal, award and expenditure reports are available at
  • Visit the Project Next page on the OSP website.

Learn more

Suzanne Pettit
(617) 324-8187